don't of record curriculum to read this is something colombia and us have been quite a essentially it's two years and one of the course is the civilization sequence. the students can opt to to do a year of american civilization and european civilization. so one quarter we deutsch china and another quarter we deutsch japan and the third quarter we do vietnam and that's what about the war it's about the larger sweep of the history going back for 2500 b.c.. estimate of vietnam at war. marc philip bradley of the university of chicago.
>> what are you reading this summer? book tv wants to know. it's been a book by john kenneth galbraith called the good society. it's a small book with tremendous was dumb for today. i'm reading an encyclopedia of conservatism by jeffrey nelson and a book called a viral spiral and a recent best seller which i haven't gotten around to reading black swan. islamic visit booktv.org to see this and other summer reading lists. islamic richard north patterson's newest novel discusses the threat of a nuclear attack on israel by terrorists and the possibility of another line 11 attack in the u.s.. he talks about the topics at an event hosted by the commonwealth club in san francisco. this is just over an hour.
islamic in partnership with the library learning centers learning consortium and is a part of the club's good literary series underwritten by bernard foundation. you can find the club on the internet at commonweathclub.org. i'm journalist and author of all america and i will be your moderator for tonight's program. now is my pleasure to introduce our very special guest, richard north patterson, the author of 19 acclaimed novels including esquire and in the name of honor. mr. patterson has written a new book, the dessel's light which explores the idea of a nuclear threat from al qaeda. what happens when al qaeda-style is a bonnet tries to detonated on the tenth anniversary of 9/11? mr. patterson the answer is that in a thriller that features a lineup of interesting characters including the u.s. intelligence figure and a work channeler who may or may not save the day to read mr. patterson was a lawyer
before becoming a writer serving as an assistant attorney general for the state of ohio. he also worked as a lawyer for the securities exchange commission. he's been chairman of the organization common cause and has written for such publications as the times of london and "the washington post." many works have been international bestsellers and i daresay that the devil's list will join that list. please welcome richard north patterson. [applause] >> it's great to see you and to have read your book. the devil's why doesn't refer to osama bin laden's flashlight but to the light emitted from a nuclear weapon, and this is a very serious subject, and people who know your career will not be surprised that you've tackled this subject. door other books for example eclipse about human rights, africa and the geopolitics and
your previous book exile before that was about the israeli-palestinian conflict. you were known for attacking serious issues and presenting them in a thriller format and the small oil is thrilling. but you said you didn't write this per say although it is to entertain people it is to inform them and you took two years to research this book and did a lot of high government officials and went to the middle east, and one of your main concerns is to let people know about the threat of al qaeda. can you talk about that? >> yeah, people talk about the irony in for the north koreans, the armenians for example as said the returning address and if they were to set a nuclear exchange, they could annihilate them quite easily, so the threat we see is from them on state actors. people you can't find in the world, people like al qaeda. so the question becomes at this point how might they acquire a
nuclear weapon and this is what keeps the national security counterterrorism people and to have to look at the first they would do it and they try in a variety of ways and osama bin laden with a pakistani assigns the nuclear engineer shortly before 9/11 jogging of the specifications for the potential bomb. he's tried to get stolen a soviet weapons for the chechens and he tried to get highly enriched uranium in south africa, but pakistan has always been this focused and there's a reason it's the most dangerous place on earth it's the fifth largest nuclear power and 110 nuclear weapons it's estimated they have more terrorist groups per square mile than any other place you can find in that region as you might suspect from the fact binh two -- bin laden had been there a number of years
and the security service, the isi come has close ties to the former current and the velte fund and start the taliban back in afghanistan and they started the ltte. the people would give the attacks in india as a counterweight to the military power. all those groups of operational connections now and the experts would be and are inclined to plan operations against the west both at home and abroad, so the question becomes then how vulnerable is the pakistani arsenal and how much would someone get a nuclear complex there's several ways. you could of the clandestine sale of materials which a.q., the father of the program for a number of years you could have a rogue officer take over the nuclear installation work you
could have my scenario where the transit from the secured facilities to the front lines and the nuclear alert because that's where it's most vulnerable. so you have a combination of weapons, the country which is hostile, the security service which has ties to the jihadists and a lot of them have been indulged by the establishment and the security, and you have something that is a worry and i would suggest it was the great national security fears that we have. >> in your book you have osama bin laden as a character in the book, and at one point without getting too much away he issues a pronouncement that essentially says we are going to bomb your country with this stolen within. there's a lot more to that and a lot more, but can you talk about
putting osama bin laden in the book. imagine my surprise, but what i did is i said i have seen bin laden in 2009 and 2010 planning a nuclear operation it was really important i thought to have bin laden involved in this because he would be as we know now and operational control or operational touch with other al qaeda folks around the world and one of his genius is if you will very roughly 60 countries that have al qaeda cells which he spelled out the organizational brilliance that way. he was also, if you were of that
peculiar mind set in inspiring figure. so any event, she is the one with a nuclear weapons and who issued against the west calling for the use of nuclear weapons. she pledged the death of 4 million americans will have you do that. certainly not one of the time. said that it was the central to the plot so the question is how do you depict somebody who's very well known and a yet not well known and you can interview. and what i did do is talked to peter bergen was the last western journalist to meet with bin laden and talked to numerous people on the community and try to get a pretty good sense of what it would be like to actually be in his presence and those scenes are as real as i could make them.
the other point i would like briefly is that everyone i talk to who's done studies of al qaeda principles argue they are quite well educated for the most part, and they are by the end of pla they are not psychotic, the actually make some or scary they're perfectly rational people pursuing other portable and irrational goals if we were barking mad it would be easier to deal with the fact is they are not. >> the characters in your book the cia operatives, they are aware that they are not irrational people, and your book in a sense of the polar opposites in terms of where they live and their philosophies and they're my local interest and the cia operative i don't know who that might be modeled after
but there are people that he tries to the laughter to find a nuclear weapon and that may or may not be successful we don't want to give away the ending. but talk about how much of their real life of the cia operatives and whether or not you had to holllywoodize it? >> it's too important to be fooling around with things in that way. so no, i interviewed the enter cover agents past and present of how they think and what they would do. it had albers and hours and hours of meetings with two people who were remarkably helpful. one was a former field agent who was portrayed by george clooney
and remarkably howard hunt was the dhaka in watergate, but howard is the most demanding and the cia. he was a legendary field officer when khomeini came in and stationed in berlin during of the cold war. he ran the cia war against the russians in afghanistan and was the one in charge of the arms and one of the most remarkable stories is that when he was in iran when khomeini took over, the revolutionary guard found him shortly after he was pacing of a double agent for police said he shot him to death and they are well on their way and he pulled a gun and killed them
both and on his way back to the embassy didn't complain about his injuries. he wanted to stay on the job and eventually got out and when he got out and got to america in dr. mix said the only time i've been seeing a internal injuries this that our car wrecks and those guys are dead, and he lives now in pain. he's a very brave man but a really tireless in helping me get things right. islamic among the people you credit in the book is leon panetta and -- >> one of my best friends actually. >> if you want to leave the book you would think you were very well connected.
>> you also interviewed for this book mohammed of hezbollah so you were not just -- this wasn't just armchair literature, the trouble in lebanon and elsewhere and for the civil you went to a very well-known palestinian refugee about an hour or so south of beirut. >> and both scary places. you can't imagine conditions under which the palestinians live in lebanon in most areas of the professions but was one of the spiritual head of the shia world which was an incredibly interesting man and i felt it necessary to speak to those folks in the sort of advanced
mind. obviously the government wasn't arranging it for me because i discuss he was on the terrorist list in the state department. but nonetheless, conversations with hamas to try to create a pitcher the be incredibly complex situation hunting for a bomb in the middle east to read >> i'm wondering if any of the interviews you did with people who most americans they may not even know the names, but certainly are aware of the dangers and all these places, did any of these interviews change your personal assessment of the middle east and cause you to say wait a minute, maybe the u.s. policy is x, y or z. >> that's a complicated question and you don't believe obviously when you're talking to these folks or any folks that you hear from, you know, hit an interesting conversation about
the bombing of the marine corps barracks and the bombing of the american embassy in beirut and, you know, he was alleged to have less those evin thank you the fact. essentially without saying much about the that, you are on our soil. we don't come to your soil. i come down to al qaeda for 9/11. these were acts of resistance. you know, not at such terror and that's the point of view and it's useful to hear that point of view when you are trying to figure out how these folks think. so, yeah, i remember meeting with a guy in the brigade in the palestinian refuge fer camp in the west bank and he moves every
hour. he has eyes like a raccoon. with an m-16 on his lap we had a conversation about how he got in this situation. and i don't know that you can do this work in a complicated way the deserves without doing some of that stuff. >> i know your books have been international but a lot of people read them including the well-known people, john mccain is one of them who loves your work in your work has been translated into many languages and i'm wondering if when you were in the middle east example he said mr. patterson, i loved blah blah blh, come on in. or were they in a sense weary of having this novelist, in a? >> you sometimes have to jump through a few hoops, but when i was talking to the palestinians
for exile, and when i was talking to the ayatollah, one thing that you are aware of is they don't feel their point of view is well circulated in the press, so to the extent you show up and can write something in print, they are more keen to talk to you than other people might because they have a feeling that they are not understood, that figure basically satirized in the terrorism 151 one-size-fits-all sort of way. so actually, they are quite, will talk to you for the most part not, there's a picture of the giving him a copy of exile and him giving me a copy of a book on a dialogue between the islamic and the western world, but i don't think that she was a fan before i showed up. i will say that. >> let me turn to someone else
who might or might not be a fan of yours on a minor legend you were in washington, d.c. and the night before you interviewed ted kennedy for a book coming and i am wondering if you can describe first of all that interview with ted kennedy but also within hours of 9/11 and what it instilled in you. >> it was remarkable because just going about my business, i was interviewing a ted for a book on presidential politics and the gun lobby. he became a hit your friend and was a wonderful and warm and generous man and have people working to help me. we had a two-hour meeting and he took his time with me and it was quite wonderful, and i so enjoyed being with him whether we were doing something like this or just a social situation that any event i am content with
this work into the next morning i am sitting dictating my notes from the conversation with ted and the tv sort of in the background hitting the world trade center where i have taken my daughter for dinner not all that long before, and i just couldn't make sense of it like a lot of americans who in the world does an airline pilot fly to a plan it makes no sense to me at all. thinking of things wrong in the second plan, washing with a ghost town. likely to get out, but it was struck as the world had changed, and i was not in new york but they hit the pentagon, and that certainly had a profound effect. really thing really stopped in washington but the remarkable story giving back to tava for a moment, at the end of the
meeting, she said to me everyone knows how i feel about the guns which is a poignant. he said you really should talk to john edwards because he has to deal with this fund would be useful. he said i don't know these people. don't worry, i will take care of it. so 9/11 comes along and in the u.s. senate make believe is over with and on and just sort of stuck here until running again. tuesday morning was 9/11, thursday morning by my hotel and the phone rings. it's john edwards. he says i hear that you are a friend of teddy and he wants me to talk to you. i always try to do what teddy tells me to do. [laughter] so, you know, i thought it was remarkable of ted in the middle of a national emergency in a real crisis that he remembered he had made me promise and
followed through. his -- to be his friend was to experience many acts of consideration like that. >> that's a great story. as one reads your book, the devil's flight and one reads about the power going back and relatively minor character in the book parishes that day and it becomes the driving force for the characters next defense in their lives do they do certain things with 9/11. wind 9/11 happened did you know right away i want to write about this? >> i think i experienced more resenting american history, it's a shocking event and you wonder what happened and how america should react to such a thing. and then of course we got involved in the iraq war machen
particular and the question about whether that was the corporate response to the terrorist threat or something else altogether. but what i thought about 9/11, and i thought about the generation of americans who were changed by it, and i learned some time later there had been a great influx of young people going to the cia after 9/11 because of that thing and my book is one of them. there's the feeling generally that one of the aftereffects of 9/11 was an infusion into the agency which perhaps otherwise wouldn't have been there so it came together the worry about the nuclear terrorism, 9/11, al qaeda, my interest in the intelligence world. islamic a reminder you're listening to the commonwealth club of california radio program talking with best-selling author ka richard north patterson about
the book the devil's flight. let's take a question from the audience but before we do that i want to say in your book, the devil's flight, the characters say a lot of things i don't think people, politicians and others could ordinarily say for the public consumption. one of them for example is you have people, the cia intelligence people say al qaeda is a good organization tactical wise and one of them, i forget the name, one of them essentially called osama bin laden a genius. now, one question from the audience. if al qaeda is so smart how is it we were able to send in a few navy seals and take out their most famous leader? >> it is a problem trying to hide. we have al qaeda franchisees if
you will in over 60 countries we have al qaeda on the arabian peninsula being a menace in lebanon. we have a continuing fear of al qaeda striking. bin laden may be good, but think of the talent that it took to build up from nothing of a bunch of people a widespread clandestine network over 60 countries with the cia and the mossad in the intelligence outfits of the country's worrying about you. he's certainly overmatched but she was no fool and one of the reasons that i think that al qaeda has been so intent on acquiring the materials they are
looking for an equalizer, looking for a game changer and all they could do is pursue the active asymmetrical warfare. that's why it is a worry that it bin laden affect someone in the long run bin ladens's operative says to him, you know, the years since 9/11 u. sense that to some extent what happens in the middle east the world is moving on. the reform in egypt and tunisia for example and who knows when and how they are going to end certainly it has a more healthful alternative them the fantasy of jim islamic kilmerson the ultimate success of bin laden depends on how much hatred there is in the world and in the
middle east and that has to do with lots of things the government the likes of the folks. >> speaking of which we have two questions related to israel. one of them relates to the influence on the u.s. policy when of the main characters in your books is really, is a woman involved with brooke chancellor. >> those were the fun scenes. i want to point out they, are there. [laughter] >> it gets into quite a few scenes with them but like real life, the politics and so forth and they talk about different things but the question from the audience is how, one of the questions is how influential israel is to the foreign policy and in terms of this book, can
you talk about that because you do explore that issue in the book. >> in terms of the proposition placed on the nuclear terrorism they are both concerned about it and ought to be an televisa i think for example and israel defense geography and its infrastructure and all the rest and certainly the structure of new york and washington and the futures of the democracy and commitment to the middle east and civil liberties and all the rest, so we both have a profound concern with mutual terrorism but they are concerned about them and we are concerned about us as a first proposition and then there's a history distrust between the cia and the mossad feeling on behalf of the u.s. sometimes to manipulate us to our in-house which would be shocking.
>> more so we have the cooperation that's also a g. the broad question of the israeli u.s. connection foreign policy is a very tricky one and when you address this as i have, you have to be really careful because you're going to make somebody mad. but there certainly has been an effort on behalf of the support of israel here in the united states to find the discussion of the u.s. national interest through israel, under very narrow bounds because they're supportive of the reform and that's fine. i try to distinguish my talk about the same profound commitment for the is right to israel to exist and never forget what happened which is i think a moral commitment of the highest
u.s. foreign policy. to me what is rare really needs is to let the map. again, i guarantee a border security among other things. they need security. and if you looked at what has been discussed for the prisoners of peace between israel and palestinians it involves an international guarantee including american troops to guarantee the borders, which i think would be very helpful. i want my troops stationed around the border. forget it. that is a nonstarter. but he is implying is international trips can be trusted to protect israel. at some point you have to worry that he is catering to a coalition of folks who believe that this is biblical, the
logical. that is not a basis for foreign policy, but that is kind of what we are with right now. in a way we have suffered on both sides of the question. harley nelson mandela. i do regret the competition that the coalition. >> well, i mean, that is -- those issues are raised in your book along with other issues that one does not often see in the american media when the muslim world is talking about. one of them, for example, is the suni to shiia design and -- divide to the point where there is a blood animosity in a lot of ways. for example, a jordanian who was killed in iraq a couple years
ago. i was reading his book. that is one of the things that makes the book a lively one. can you talk about that? >> it really is remarkable. for him to say what he said is doing something because he didn't like jews must either. he was about the business of killing shiia in iraq. that was one of his priorities. indeed, there is a distinct antagonism between al qaeda and the iranian regime and has a lot because they are primarily shia -- shiia and not suni. going to the genesis. i cannot begin to explain why i that importance some 1400 years later. i only know 15 years later that
is. so one of the strains that runs there my book is the calculation that if al qaeda on the part of osama bin laden does something which causes a military reprisal, and indiscriminate military reprisal, is likely to fall on shiia. for them it is a win-win situation. all the better for them. >> i want to get into your personal life. alone personal. that is the fact it you were a bullet -- a lawyer. around eight to 29 you decided to write a novel. so at that point you hadn't really written publicly and
novel. and lo and behold you're one of the world's best-selling novelists, international bestsellers, not just the new york times, but certainly that list to see many of your books. can you talk about what prompted you to want to write fiction after having worked as a lawyer and a fairly successful lawyer at that for many years and whether this is the tail end of that. our you happy being a novelist and having given up those lawyers. the march is an extremely short one. you know, i enjoyed my legal career a great deal. i learned a lot from it.
it was very useful. island engineering skills. i learned more about linear thinking. i learned how to take a complex set of messy facts and make him a coherent and narrative which might be persuasive to a judge and jury. i learned a lot about human psychology. your class will tell you the damnedest things. and i also learned to write. there is a theory that legal writing is just nonsense. dependent clauses spirited will put you to sleep. but as a lawyer you are writing for america's most tired and cynical audience. america's judges and law clerks and you want a concise and persuasive to hand you want to grab them with the nub of your presentation on page one. so it's all good. the differences that a lawyer is in in march standard job.
you sit there. then you try to go about the problem, interesting business of fixing it. as a lighter -- writer yourself assigned work. you did decide what to care about and spend your time. the most wonderful thing my interests have urged by work. i learned more. my life is entirely different because i was a writer curious to reach up for different subjects rather than reap wild familiar ground because it is commercially safe. so, it has been a great career for me. >> and one that put you in the
spotlight in a lot of ways. one of your books has been optioned for television. >> i have all the horror stories. [laughter] rights. the committee with the stories. this book has a lot of bases for scream parade. have you gotten offers already? >> i have had movie deals. a lot more movie deals than movies which is typical. i say that movie deals are like sperm, many are called, but few are chosen. [laughter] hollywood is a funny place. a few years ago syria added to undo all that well. the kingdom to draw a well. hollywood is the filled with
people who are profound analysts. sorry. if i had known i would have put the italians and the list. in exile. it really tries to do serious filmmaking. so, you know, the thing is, people always ask me, well, as your book been turned into a movie? the book is this thing. the movie is really what you're after. i've never cared really. the stuff they do is frequently. i would be happy to add the check to my tuition fund. the book is what i made. i don't concern in my budget are ask anybody what to do in the
book. sitting him out character be of the melt. so if it happens, if it does and it's fine. >> speaking of the mud characters does resort to violence. i consider that without giving too much away. the munsees. it has everything going right there. insulin is silly. >> the scene was inspired. we had a husband and wife over who had been diligence. everyone was talking about their work. she was talking about how it was possible to kill somebody with a
number two pencil. i remember that. i also remember never to sit next to her. [laughter] relationships in real life or in books. i do, in addition to dealing with whatever subject and dealing with to my really do like to give people a good story, and i also like to create characters who are complicated, dimensional, and in whom you have a real interest. you may not like all of them, but you want to read about them. so all of that is very important to me. otherwise i'm just writing. does not my intention. >> with your indulgence let me read what you wrote about osama bin london. page 66. you say in the flesh the man radiated energy and purpose.
he retained the aura of a poet with his penitentes' became an era of call and killed stillness. let me fast forward to the character. at one. he writes this, and his poetry, the devils light flashes golden and that blacks die of doom. fellow vanishes into the past. so there is some, you know, these are to pastures that describe men who are prone to violence but have reported side to them. can you just -- >> yes. there was a big part of his persona. he wrote poetry. he was always described in personal dealings with him as generally considered far from as screen.
not a pleasant person. is not a pleasant person to be a round ball. much more rigid, much more didactic. mind you, we're talking about the characters, somebody who planned to 9/11. that didn't want to push that went too far. in portraying osama bin laden it was important to get him right in see him as his acolyte who is going to put his life on the line for this plot would see him as an inspirational figure. that only makes sense because you're not seeing him when you are the reader. you aren't seeing him through the americans what do you been seeing it to the point of view of someone who is actually experiencing and has been inspired by him. you want to understand how that could possibly be. >> one of the things your characters from the west german least seven common is that they are having to use different
identities. he has to change its name. the characters are having to impose different people. so are these connections. whether people realize that are not, there are these connections. almost from the same family, but different. >> certain psychological similarities between, you know, people on either side of the terrorist. if you're working undercover. i mean, the ability to line and to assimilate a whole alternative identity and be fine with that and to bring it off is not given to most of us. i dare say there is no single person in this audience who could do it. i know i could not. so psychologically there are certain similarities including an incredible commitment to an extremely inconvenient life because to go undercover is to
give up a lot. early on talking about the cost of that life for which she is painfully aware. i was talking to a guy and a cover never did tell me his last name because that was not for me to know, but, you know, he is saying -- and have dirt say this more less. i don't mind reporters. that is what they pay me for. it is wearing my line. the guy in the next apartment or people who have known me for years. you know, that is what gets me down. and in the case of -- you have given up your whole life. a big chunk of your life. >> your book came out i guess today's, two or three days after the announcement that osama bin laden had been killed. at that point there had been no images shown. subsequently we have seen images of him.
they show a person who, love boxing metaphor, he who is on the ropes, physically on the ropes. in other ways, not quite to the osama bin laden of the public imagination. did it surprise you after doing all your research words you are talking to people about who he is committed surprise you that, oh, wow, this is really the osama bin laden that is populating my book? >> well, what surprised the hell out of me was very wise. with the exception of the people who held the very closely held secret of where he was, everybody thought he was in the, you know, west and pakistan. everybody. a few people voted for yemen. i thought pakistan had to be right for all sorts of reasons. and some of the conditions in which it would be right, the
close link between the ising hottest groups, the longtime association between al qaeda personnel and leaders in the is side and their associations between and among the isi and the other terrorist groups. he pretty much had to be in pakistan and could not not be there without the knowledge and indulgence and help of someone. i'm not saying that pakistan is security establishment is the model. i would say some people. and other people didn't want to know. you have to think that for pakistan, and this is hard to get your mind around if you are american, giving up osama bin laden is not all that popular thing to do. the united states is not a beloved and pakistan. and so turning over osama bin laden would not be an easy decision for the pakistani security establishment to make which is why, of course, we
didn't tell them that we were going in because we were worried that there would give up the game. >> a reminder to the audience, listening to the california radio program, best-selling author richard north patterson about his current novel, "the devil's light." a question from the audience about a previous novel of yours. the question is, whether you knew obama was going to run when you wrote that book. >> no, i didn't. it had a very interesting experience. in fact, i will tell the story which is why i'm not in the boat or consulting business. in 2004 my wife and i were at the democratic convention in boston. i was doing research for the race. obama had just given his electrifying convention speech. his name was on everyone's lips.
i ran into someone that i knew and he was with the obama campaign. he said, do you want to meet barack obama? barack obama would like to meet you. i said, that's very cool. can i bring my then friend nancy? fine. we sit down with then state senator obama remarkably enough. we have about a 40 minute conversation. i was not surprised that he knew a lot about the things i was concerned about because there were the things that a politician would not know about. nancy, who is an educational consultant, a lot of work overseas, got into a conversation with him about the problems. he knew a lot about that. what was most interesting was being in his presence. i have known the last four presidents, lot of folks in politics. what you really appreciate is if he listens, he really takes
seven. you were having an actual conversation. he wasn't doing an end to dump. you can understand why these folks have to sort of store up a lot of knowledge that only goes so deep. we just have so much stuff to think around and deal with. he was remarkable. his whole aura was interesting. i came out and said to nancy, that maybe this sanest politician i have never met. no way he will denticulate and run in 2008. obviously the business of race and race in america and race is a factor in politics. it was on my mind, and he certainly raise that as a potential national figure. burris he was not the reason i rose about the race, he certainly was someone i thought about while i was writing it.
>> any chance you will do a follow-up novel with obama as a character? >> well, you know, the problem with doing that is you really are constrained by the facts. as much as i do research, i really do like to make stuff up. [laughter] you know, so, yeah. he is going to have to get along with having one life rather than to. he is doing fine. >> were you tempted to put him in "the devil's light"? key is not really in the book. >> you want to hear something terrible? you know, i always worry with any american president of what's going to happen to them. i really do. you know, i try chair ride around the problem by showing 2009 and it does intend. but there are a lot of guns out there. it worries me deeply. the influence of the gun lobby
in protecting the rights of legitimate government is one thing. one, people who are educated felons or people who are convicted of domestic violence or who have been convicted to mental institutions and are allowed to acquire guns, there is something deeply wrong. i thought about that. in fact, ask me about that. i just say we will have a generic president. it saddens me to say that. that is why. >> okay. well, you said you have known the last four presidents. that includes obama, but actually george w. bush. was there any -- did you and he talked about literature, perhaps, you know, having his political life thrown into the
pages of fiction? >> i should say that i knew his dad rather better and knew the second president bush threw him. you know, there are enough differences in points of view on some issues that i don't know that it would have been useful to go there. he was always great fun to be around. he is a lively guy. you know he is in the room, and you can see why he succeeded as a politician. but, no, we never talked about this stuff. you know, a notably different personalities. both interesting in their own way. >> given your interest in the world. i mentioned at the outset that you were a former head of common cause.
the fact that you, you know, you're right about a lot of different subjects. do you have, for example, researching, do you want to go out there in the sense the top people -- i guess this with your join with this book. listen, this is of the world really is. we need to get off of our duffs and change the u.s. government, the foreign policy, or is cities as breeding to stay in that fiction world? >> well, i do go out and give speeches. of course i do hope that my books will have some impact. i do get letters. tenths of one more letters. and people telling me, thank you for saying it. you really caused me to look at this conflict in a more nuanced way, which i deeply appreciate. that said, i have written about a number of problems, and they have all gotten worse, i think. you know, i do have some sense
of my own limitations. i can say that and violence has done better. capitol punishment is still. it has been four years since i wrote the middle east peace to, so i may be the literary equivalent of a plan to a friend to advise me to a giants game and every time i do they lose maybe i have a passion for hard issues. >> are you ever tempted? and know this is something that is a no-no. i you ever tempted to revisit your novels and say, you know what, really didn't like that ending. let me to rest at a little bit and pump out a second version? >> you know, really i just don't second-guess myself.
i make the book as strong as i can. i rewrite a lot. and then at some point you just have to let it go and move on. but one thing that i did because i had to read first was published in 79. my first novel was 93. so the issues. and i went and looked at it and realize that i was at a different guy in '93 than i was in 79. i will give you one glassmaking example. i was dating a couple of girls that didn't want to see. that is a gross thing. it really struck me when i was sitting there in 93. my guide. that is lane. and so i went back and exercised a few things. but i think that having had a more or less fully formed conscience, some work after that i committed errors.
bricks are there subjects? and other subjects that you would love to tackle but in essence your afraid to go there because it is not beyond your ability but somehow to charged to something you just want to stay clear? have done already? >> you know, by the time you have written about partial birth abortion, israel, and palestine have done about as bad as you could do. i don't know if i could do any worse than those even if i'd tried. a book i thought about doing, and i don't think i'm ever going to do. was thinking about doing something related to afghanistan. i honestly thought of it then around afghanistan in your late middle-aged to everything that could be said about afghanistan, you know, probably has been said long ago unless i really thought i could bring something novel to a. probably best to do something else. that was more a decision that,
of feeling that i was superfluous. of the enough i did not feel in the israeli-palestinian context that i was commanded don't think that i have been. people still ask me to speak about that or to write about it. you just have to pick your spots. >> pick your spots. exactly. really the world at large after 9/11 is a big spot to pick. parts about this book that you actually had wanted to originally include? for example, i don't know, maybe something about u.s. politics that you ended up excising from the book? was there, you know -- >> you know, there was a lot. the idea was in this book. i could have dealt with the impact of the threat of al qaeda destroying a major western city which is a plot point in the book and how that affected the u.s. political scene. i chose not to do much of that because i really wanted to keep
the focus on the story in hand and he paid, well, driving forward. in know, given the current crematory, dishonest, poison -- poisonous, and utterly unhelpful political dialogue we have in this country, you know, i can well imagine that if there is a potential active nuclear terrorism that the finger-pointing and potential scapegoating would pick up right away. i have got to say that even faced with all sorts of national peril, you know, like the deficit, we obviously have to do something about it. the intellectual dishonesty in cells are and quality of our political leaders really is quite special. [laughter] [laughter] >> we will break for the applause. of course you would know more than the average person because
of the personal dealings with political figures to tell you offhandedly, off the record, here is what i really think. >> i only hang out with the nice ones. [laughter] >> okay. yet, you know, you did these conversations that you have with politicians and others. they find their way in the book. and let me read something to people that one of your characters says. this is carter great, major u.s. intelligence figure. early on. america as a nation had no clue about what the hell this was about. most americans still don't. talking about the middle east and the post nine / 11 world. and the hero, shall we say, or perhaps not says, as a nation we are addicted to wishful thinking, staggering from crisis to crisis with the foresight of
the other. they also seem to have a taste for the spectacular. you know, if they did what hamas did for a while in israel they could be bombing shopping centers. for some reason or another they have of passes for the big gesture. in a way, the success of 9/11 would be proved addictive to them. i think certainly in terms of their danger as a terrorist threat, it is continuing. it is worse than it was after 9/11 because of the success of osama bin laden and organizing. i don't think you will find anybody saying that we can relax. the long run depends on a lot of things. it depends on whether we continue to support our counter-terrorism efforts. when jerry was talking about
that in 2004 he was dismissed by critics talking about police work. you can't invade terror. you have dissected counteract. it's important we have that. we have enough arab speakers. we don't have enough lots of things. somebody told me, and it might be true. i wouldn't be surprised if there were true. there is a broader question in the middle east. how good or bad are things. i think the israeli-palestinian thing has to be fixed. that is job one. more broadly there are questions of regional security, societies we are going to have in countries like egypt which are going through change. there is an all sang, somewhat cynical. these emerging democracies, one-man one-vote, one time. anybody can hold an election.
the question is whether you build the institutions that are going to make both meaningful and something that happens again. the moslem brotherhood is very strong and well organized and egypt. you just don't know how that is going to go. to the extent that there is -- the palestinians have a better life, to the extent that -- and this is a lot of this, hezbollah is of a sort into the body rather than obsessing on israel and there is something worked out there are serious depending on what the government is like eventually decides to cut off arms from a run to his block. all of those things do bear also early on how potent al qaeda is because the more anger, the more unemployment, the more frustration there is among people in the middle east but
generally the better they do. the better the middle east does the worst they do. so how that will play out, her nose. >> we have time for one more question. your career has taken you a long way. at one point in your career you were the sec liaison to the watergate special prosecutor. the dates you a little bit. you mentioned our hunt earlier. started this conversation. you have seen a lot of things in your life that could be described as a real. certainly nixon's time and ordered it was real. >> nixon himself. >> well, maybe this was the final question then. any similarity between nixon and osama bin laden? i take that question back. >> are we talking about charm? >> well, i mean, all joking aside. personality, the way it takes to
get to the top of one profession. >> i think nixon was really a remarkable figure because he was the most a natural politician i've ever seen. you see natural politicians. bill clinton is amazing. watching him is just astounding. nixon had none of that. you can see the message from his brain to his mouth. he just was completely uncomfortable and his own skin. a remarkable determination that he had to achieve the presidency in the face of not being a natural was really remarkable. the problem is that his demons and discomfort eight him out. it is quite possibly, quite possible. you know, i don't want it to be juvenile. this could come off wrong. quite possible in certain ways that osama bin laden, if you ignore what it is that he
wanted, was a better integrated human being. you know, just in terms of someone who had self awareness in such. on low-level of fanaticism as bad as watergate is, there is no way this compares to really wanting to kill hundreds of thousands of people. nixon was tragic, as i think most people agree. a person of great dif -- case and demons and 88 him in the end. >> thank you very much. richard north patterson. best-selling author of the 19th novel, the most recent, the devils life. we also think our audience is year end of the internet, television, and radio. presented in partnership with the lafayette library. it is part of the tidbits series underwritten by the foundation. this meeting of the, most of
california, of the place where you are in the no, is adjourned. [applause] [applause] >> thank you very much. great. >> thank you. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> for more reformation on richard north patterson and his work visit richard north patterson books dot com. >> my work, my bark recalls the history of the movement in atlanta and, of course, you all know that atlanta is a leading american city today, but it was also really importance during the civil rights movement because it was the home to leading civil rights organizations, including the southern christian leaders and
the student organization, the student gun violence coordinating committee. so, what i would like to do is focus in particular on this and other ways of lawyers and accidents to contributed who are unsigned and contributed to the history of the movement. i take a bottom-up perspective on constitutional law. and what i would like to do this after a man is discuss three ways of unsung lawyers and activists who i argue in my book and treated to the civil rights movement in import waste. the first points i want to emphasize is that all of these dissenters, and i style these people as dissenters have the same overarching goal of
equality. they had different priorities and tactics for achieving equality. in fact, they did find equality in different ways. the first way or pragmatists. i call them pragmatists because they wanted to challenge jim-crow, but without destroying the social and economic the black middle class had built during segregation. who were these? well, there were some of the black college presidents in atlanta, many african-american teachers who were the lion's share of the black middle-class, and they also included 80 walden, one of the south's first african-american lawyers. here he is, a portrait. now, he was the son of a former
safe and sharecropper studying an atlanta university with wb giveaway and went on to graduate with honors from the university of michigan law school. he excelled at michigan while waiting tables for local fraternity. he is little known today, but he really inspired a generation of african-american lawyers, including vernon jordan, a lawyer, counsel to the president's who, i'm sure, some of your effort of. the jordan called walden so impressive. he said, i wanted to be a lawyer just like walden. i wanted to walk like him and talk like him and hang out on of bradstreet just like walden. above all else pragmatists like walden and that president prioritized voting rights as the path to black power.
here we see walden challenging the so-called white primary, the laws, the tradition of excluding african americans from the vote in georgia and elsewhere. and here is the result of his activism. 1946 after the fall of the white primary all over the streets, eager to exercise land jobs. and yet he and others were called uncle toms. the question is, why would that be? well, it was because he didn't challenge segregation in housing. instead he made deals with local rights to find housing for african-americans wherever he could. the next on the postwar housing crisis. and it this had the effect of maintaining the color line.
as a result poor black neighborhoods remained intact. never cite the one where this woman lived remains intact. really his decision said the impact of exacerbating segregation overtime. he also was called an accommodationist because he never fully embrace school desegregation. of course at chief way in which thurgood marshall concedes equality. why would that have been? well, it was partly because he was interested in preserving the jobs of african-american school teachers. also it was because he was worried that in desegregated schools african american students would not have a nurturing school environment. because of his skepticism, school desegregation, he didn't file a